ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet, on Tuesday, decided to carry out a third-party evaluation mechanism both at the federal and the provincial levels of the development projects under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) to ensure transparency, stated Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry, at a press conference after a cabinet meeting.
He said the third-party evaluation mechanism would be applied at the federal and provincial levels to ascertain and ensure that the money which is being given by the federal government is spent on the particular purpose and is not misused.
“Because we have seen that this money has been laundered systematically to Dubai, Canada, the UK and France…This money belongs to people of Pakistan and they have the right to know [as to where it’s spent]. That’s why the cabinet has decided the third-party evaluation mechanism at federal and provincial levels. The provincial departments receiving the money from the Centre would also have to face the third-party evaluation, so that we are able to tell people about the spending,” the minister added.
He also expressed the hope that the government wants to put the electronic voting machines [EVMs] to use as early as possible, adding that the government will possibly use the EVMs as soon as by the next by-elections.
He said EVMs have been developed as per the needs of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), adding the ECP has approved more machines.
He said that the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs briefed the prime minister about the Elections (Second Amendment Bill) recently passed by the National Assembly, adding that it was informed that the piece of legislation has been forwarded to the Senate for approval.
About the audit system of the National Database Registration Authority (NADRA), he said that a report has been sent to the Ministry of Information Technology. He said that electronic voting machine is the top priority of the government as well as introducing e-voting system for overseas Pakistanis.
He said that the government considers overseas Pakistanis as a vital component of the national politics, adding that they should be given their right to vote.
He criticised the PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal for “speaking against” government’s decision to give right of vote to overseas Pakistanis.
“Sharif family sent Pakistan’s money abroad the way the then East India Company was doing in the past,” he alleged.
He further mentioned that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has sent a questionnaire to Shehbaz Sharif to respond in relation to the sugar scam involving an alleged “Rs25 billion money laundering of two sugar mills”.
“We request the judiciary to hear Shehbaz Sharif's case on a day-to-day basis as the entire nation is taking the way the cases are proceeding as a joke. The prime minister and all of us have serious concerns in this regard and we again urge the judiciary to hear the major cases against Shehbaz Sharif on a day-to-day basis,” he said, adding that the schedule for hearing of cases is not being issued despite the passage of six months.
The minister said considering the situation of the Covid-19, the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) is likely to announce reopening of cinemas from June 30th.
He said the government has spoken to the NCOC and Asad Umar has promised that cinemas will be reopened by June 30th.
However, a final decision in this regard will be taken by the NCOC, he added. He also announced that the government had decided to introduce a “National Digital Cable Policy”. “Moving our cable channels from the existing analog to the digital mode will ensure transparency in ratings,” he said, adding that it would also be ensured that 4-G is working on it while providing a better quality.
The minister further stated that this will also help increase the number of channels to up to 950, such as those related to science, technology and history. Moreover, he said, the channels will run on the subscription model to create a futuristic media scene. He said this will give an opportunity to the cable operators to buy content while youth will be able to sell their content to them, adding that this will help create a new ‘content industry’.
He said those who have YouTube channels or any other kind of online content/short films and documentaries can sell their contents over there.
He further stated that the step will also help subscribe the channels, as well as those running YouTube channels, to sell their contents.
The minister further said that the cabinet has given its nod to recall two officers working at Pakistani embassy in Saudi Arabia in view of overseas Pakistanis’ complaints.
“We have linked the continuation of services of the staff with the sentiments of the people. Officers facing complaints of maltreatment will be recalled back to the country,” he added.
Besides, he added, the cabinet approved the appointment of community welfare attaches in seven countries. He said the cabinet also approved implementation of storm water drains projects under the Karachi transformation programme.
About the Central Business District (CBD) project at the Walton Airport site, he said that the cabinet decided that 42.6 percent shares of the project will be given to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and 75.4 percent to the Punjab government, adding that from the said land, 52 acres of the land is owned by the CAA and 70 acres by the Punjab government.
He further said that the cabinet has approved regularisation of the charter class-II licence of AHS Air International from 17th August 2016. The cabinet also approved the appointment of Aziz Nishtar Saqib Hamdani and Kashif Shahid as private members in Pakistan Postal Services Management Board and Brigadier Numan Ahmad as member project planning in Heavy Industry Taxila’s Board, he added. In the matters pertaining to Carlton Hotel and Jamshed Quarters, Karachi, he said that the cabinet decided to defer the agenda, seeking more discussions over it.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021